The Marion City Council learned at its meeting Monday that the police department is renovating its office at 112 N. Fifth.
Along with adding a fresh coat of paint on the walls, Police Chief Tyler Mermis approached council members about buying new carpet and introduced them to his newest officer, Sarah Alam.
Mermis said in addition to paint, they are looking at putting laminate down on the countertops and adding some new blinds.
“We want to make it look more traditional and be a nicer department,” he said. “The floor is cracking out, too.”
Councilor Steve Smith asked if there were still electrical outlets in the floor.
“Yes,” Mermis said, “the outlets are caved in and it could be a hazard to officers who could trip (on the flooring) or get electrical shock.”
Mermis said he received a bid for carpeting from County Seat Decorating Center for the main area, in his and Clinton Jeffrey’s offices and the entryway.
“In some areas we would use linoleum,” he said, “and the carpet and new linoleum could be laid over the top of the old.”
City Administrator Doug Kjellin said the biggest concern is there is no maintenance line item in the police department’s budget.
“We need to get further down the year,” he said.
If enough money is available in the general fund, it could be used for city hall, he added.
Regarding the recent bids for carpet, Kjellin said the initial estimates were higher than he expected, however, because it won’t be a recurring expense, he sees the upgrades as a “one shot deal.”
Mermis said the police department’s office was painted once since he has been there and it didn’t last long.
“We are now using different colored paints and doing some different things to try to prolong the paint job,” he said.
He encouraged the council to stop by and see some of the improvements.
“It looks very good,” Mermis said.
Stump grinding bid
Bids were opened March 2 for the removal of 15 tree stumps in the city. Seven of the stumps are located at Marion Cemetery and the other half around town.
According to Kjellin, six bids were received and Arbor Master Tree Service of Wichita was the low bidder at $550.
The other five bids received were from B & B Services of Marion at $2,973; JD & Sons of Wichita at $1,125; Out on a Limb of Marion submitted two bids for $1,900 and $1,300 and The Rock Shop in rural Marion at $1,292.38.
Police manual changes
Mermis proposed changes to the Marion Police Department’s employee manual, but Kjellin suggested the council could wait until the March 19 meeting to make a decision.
By waiting until then, he said, it would allow them time to read through the changes and bring back any questions.
The changes included language regarding authorized duty weapons. In that section, it states the authorized duty weapon is a Springfield XD40 or XD45 auto pistol, but Mermis would like to further add: “which is furnished by the Marion Police Department.”
In addition, he requested adding: “Any auto pistol bought by the officer to carry while on duty for the officer’s primary weapon but must only be approved and authorized by the chief of police and must qualify with the weapon.”
He also wanted to add an AR-14 to the weapons list.
Another major change in the manual was the inclusion that either the chief or assistant chief be notified of any pursuit of a vehicle.
It further stated: “The officer will tell Marion County Communications over the radio the direction the pursuit is going. For example: East on Main, North on Cedar, East on U.S. Highway 56 from North Cedar. This will help the backup officer or deputy know what direction the officer is going so he/she can assist. If pursuit stops the officer shall advise communications the location of the stop.”
The council in other business:
• approved the recommendation by the Planning Commission for rezoning the jail property.
• tabled approval of the Kansas Department of Transportation KLINK project on Main Street until the next meeting. Councilor Jerry Kline questioned the meaning of micro surfacing, disputing whether this would be a 2-inch mill and overlay. Kjellin will get clarification.